In a CNN interview, Larry Thurlow contends that Kerry initially left the scene of the mine explosion, only to come back later when it was clear that there was no more danger:
WOODRUFF: You're basically saying he fled when there
THURLOW: I am saying he fled the area on the explosion under the 3-boat
Rassmann pretty much calls Thurlow a liar, and states in part:
JIM RASSMANN, KERRY SUPPORTER: Well, first, I was not part of John Kerry's
command. I was a Special Forces officer who happened to be on his boat at that
Mr. Thurlow's recollection of what occurred is not accurate. We had the
boat hit the mine to our left. And John immediately had his driver, Del Sandusky
(ph), turn to the left and head towards it.
And it was at that time that our gunner on the bow got his gun knocked out and he started screaming for another weapon. I ran another weapon up to me, and we hit something or something hit us. There was an explosion, and I was blown off the boat to the right.
WOODRUFF: And you ended up in the water how? RASSMANN: I was blown into the water, and I had boats coming up behind me. So, I went to the bottom of the river.
However, if you look at Kerry's Bronze Star citation, what it states is that:
So this seems to back up Thurlow, and not Rassmann. Kerry left the scene, and then had to come back to pick up Rassmann. To be fair, the rest of the citation is much more consistent with Rassman's version. However, this brings me back to my original question. How much was this looked into at the time. Was the citation made up soley of Rassmann's and Kerry's recollections, or were other people involved also questioned?
"When Lieutenant (jg) Kerry discovered he had a man overboard, he returned
upriver to assist"